The Happy Prince


Oscar Wilde

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The Little Match-Girl Character Analysis

A young girl selling matches on a street corner whose father beats her if she does not return with sufficient money. Having dropped her matches, she appears to be in a tragic situation until the Happy Prince sacrifices his other sapphire eye to help her. Though she plays a relatively small role in the story, the narrator emphasizes her youth and innocence in contrast with the evil and neglectful adults that populate the town.

The Little Match-Girl Quotes in The Happy Prince

The The Happy Prince quotes below are all either spoken by The Little Match-Girl or refer to The Little Match-Girl. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Beauty and Morality Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Dover edition of The Happy Prince published in 2012.
The Happy Prince Quotes

"ln the square below," said the Happy Prince, "there stands a little matchgirl. She has let her matches fall in the gutter, and they are all spoiled. Her father will beat her if she does not bring home some money, and she is crying. She has no shoes or stockings, and her little head is bare. Pluck out my other eye, and give it to her, and her father will not beat her." "l will stay with you one night longer," said the Swallow, "but I cannot pluck out your eye. You would be quite blind then." "Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow," said the Prince, "do as I command you," So he plucked out the Prince's other eye, and darted down with it. He swooped past the match-girl, and slipped the jewel into the palm of her hand. "What a lovely bit of glass," cried the little girl; and she ran home, laughing. Then the Swallow came back to the Prince. "You are blind now," he said 'so I will stay with you always."

Related Characters: The Happy Prince (speaker), The Swallow (speaker), The Little Match-Girl
Related Symbols: Children
Page Number: 37
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Happy Prince PDF

The Little Match-Girl Character Timeline in The Happy Prince

The timeline below shows where the character The Little Match-Girl appears in The Happy Prince. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Happy Prince
Beauty and Morality Theme Icon
Love and Compassion Theme Icon
Poverty, Inequality, and Greed Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
...the Happy Prince, who pleads with him to deliver his other sapphire eye to a little match-girl who has dropped her matches. Without any help, the child’s father will beat her. The... (full context)